Fiction writing is a tenuous business, regularly doling out lots of blows to your ego and confidence.
Yet I still love it.
Back in November, I wrote about my thriller manuscript, in its eighth iteration.
It’s now at iteration eleven!
But that’s not all dim (or frustrating) news. The manuscript has had some amazingly positive feedback which I’ve taken on board to keep recrafting it.
Would you like to hear about that? Just quickly?
As mentioned in my previous blog, I submitted my novel for a manuscript assessment. The anonymous assessor said my book had strong potential to be picked up by a major publisher and could even be adapted as a TV series. They liked the fact that I had four main characters whose shifting points of view tells the story. They said the characters and setting were strong; the final showdown was thrilling.
So, that was buoying.
At the same time, there were elements to be improved. So I set to work again.
A couple of months later, happier with my fresh manuscript, I sent it to a handful of agents. I had one rejection from a small agency in Australia.
Then from all the way over in the UK, I had one agent tell me she loved my first three chapters and was keen to read the whole book. As you can imagine, that made me very CAPITAL LETTERS EXCITED.
It was a pleasant process, because this agent responded to my initial email quite quickly, and then read my manuscript quickly.
Unfortunately she took a pass; and it was down the slippery dip for me again. But rather than feel that the book was doomed, I took heart that this agent liked the characters and tone (and obviously I created something readable, if she wanted more after the first three chapters).
I dove back into the book again.
I tore it back from 83k words to 61k!
So it’s much more of a thrill ride, less quiet moments and character backstory. I hope that hasn’t been a wild wrong turn – but now I have a manuscript which is much more fitting as a thriller, and one which I hope compels readers to keep turning the pages (and to eventually tell their friends).
Should I keep counting the number of times I’ve drafted this book? Perhaps not.
In any case, this week I began the submission process again. And, as with any would-be authors, I wait. It could take months.
In the meantime, I’ll be working on my second thriller manuscript – and trying not to feel defeated or hopeless. If I didn’t love writing so much, I’d most definitely have given up by now …